Man charged in attempt to redirect Tahuya River

attorney general logoThe State Attorney General’s Office filed three misdemeanor charges Thursday against a Tahuya man accused of using heavy machinery to fill and alter the course of the Tahuya River near his home without any permits. 

William Cayo Sr. is charged in Mason County District Court with violation of the water pollution control act, violation of the shoreline management act, and conducting unpermitted hydraulic activities in connection with the alteration of the channel of the Tahuya River in early February 2013.

Cayo allegedly used an excavator and bulldozer to fill the river channel near his home, and to redirect the river.

Under state law, a property owner may work with the county and other agencies to develop a responsible, professional and effective hydraulic or shoreline project that protects both private property and our natural resources. Unpermitted and improperly designed work in a riverbed or on a shoreline, however, can damage neighboring properties, pollute the river, and kill fish.

In this case, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) biologists concluded that approximately 5,747 square meters of river bed were moved to fill the active channel or otherwise alter the streambed conditions in the river.

The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case at the request of the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office. The lead prosecutor is Assistant Attorney General Bill Sherman.